An audience with the Pope!

Perhaps one of the most moving experiences of my life, an audience with the Pope, in my opinion, is one of the most spiritual experiences a Roman Catholic can have. I think being there with my young family made this even more poignant as I hope to bring up my two sons in the Catholic faith and being this close to the heart of our religion strengthened my desire to do this. We stayed in some fantastic Rome accommodation during our stay and had a lovely time, the visit to see the Pope rounded our holiday off in a very spiritual way.

The audience with the Pope takes place at 11:00 on Wednesdays, the pope meets his flock at St Peter’s Basilica (in July and August at Castel Gandofolo). For free tickets we wrote to the Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano. If you’re already in Rome though, you can call or visit the Prefettura (+06 698 84 631; h 09:00 – 13:00 ) which is through the bronze doors under the colonnade to the right of St Peter’s. When in town, the pope also blesses the faithful in St Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) on Sundays at noon – where you don’t have to have tickets to attend.

There are also many Rome apartments and Rome hotels in this area so you’ve got no excuse to miss it!
I also know of a tour company “vaticancitytours” who can arrange this for you… On their website they say “It is quite difficult to obtain reservations for this limited attendance occasion especially in high season. Reservations must be made in advance (the general rule is at least 2 weeks prior to your desired audience) and the only way to guarantee this is in person. Our staff will fill out the necessary papers and ensure that you receive your reservation.”

The wave of excitement that ripples round everyone when he comes out is amazing. The Pope processes slowly down the main aisle, surrounded by body guards. They will reach into the audience and bring babies and toddlers to the Pope for a special blessing and kiss. Two professional photographers take crowd shots during the procession, so take their cards and visit their shops to see the proofs.
All in all, the Pope’s messages last for about an hour. He then gives a papal blessing to all attendees. All items eligible for blessing (as defined by the Catholic Church) are blessed. I had rosaries and medals blessed of which I plan to give as gifts to friends.

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